My Vicious Little Habit Cycle

Today’s blog post is a little different, I’m analysing a specific habit I have.  Maybe you have it too!  And it’s all about emails!  Well, that and other forms of digital communications.

My Vicious Little Habit Cycle

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Trapped In A Cycle

Let me ask you a question: How often do you sign in to your email inbox, stare at the amount of emails then sign out without even dealing with any of them?

Now me, I do that a lot.  Way more than I even realised.  This is compounded as I have more than one email address (I have a business email address, an “official” email address for things pertaining to me real name (Ari Meghlen is a pen name!) and then my Ari Meghlen email address).

The problem is, I live within cycles, bad cycles, desctructive cycles and it’s very hard to get out of them.

Anxiety is part of my life and while I manage it pretty well these days, there are certain aspects where it holds more control.  Emails is one, well, messages in general.

All I have to do is have a few busy days, miss replying to emails, text messages, blog comments, social media DMs and the cycle begins.

I see the messages building up, get paralysed due to the quantity, log off and ignore them.  Pretty useless really as all this does it make more build up.

You see, there are emails and messages I have to reply to – ones that must be dealt with instantly – these are usually business ones, customer ones but also specific ones regarding the house whether that’s issues with insurance or requests for payment following work etc.  Honestly, just these types of messages can take all my time and emotional energy.

Anxiety Hates Messages

It took me a while to realise that too many messages can be overwhelming.  So I spent some time in my inboxes, removing myself from old mailing lists, changing my notifications from companies so I am not inundated with a dozen emails telling me they have my order, they are shipping my order, the order is in transit, the order has been delivered and finally how did we do with the delivery?

However, some notifications you just can’t change and others even when you unsubcribe, they can either not remove you or it takes ages and you have to give it time before you change again!

I am currently in one of those cycles.  I managed to catch back up with the comments I actually enjoy getting, such as blog comments and WhatsApp messages from friends.  Social media comments are harder for me to reply too, it’s one of the reasons I’ve been avoiding Twitter for months!

It makes me sad, after all I get overwhelmed just looking at them, not the messages themselves, I love getting messages – that someone took the time to reply, to email me, to leave their thoughts and reach out. It means a lot – but the cycle spins me around.

If you ever wonder why I don’t answer messages fast, how I can go days, weeks and even months before I reply – it’s my brain. It’s trapped in a cycle and I have to take some time to break myself out of it.

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Happy writing

Signature & logo of Ari Meghlen

I write articles on writing, marketing, blogging, organising, social media, books and some random stuff.  I also create free printable resources.  If you find my content helpful, entertaining and like what I do, consider supporting me on ko-fi (where you will also find extra content I post).


8 thoughts on “My Vicious Little Habit Cycle

  1. Victoria Zigler

    I, thankfully, don’t have this problem. My problem is that I see all the messages I missed because I had to be doing something else, and then get myself all worked up over it, so become so obsessed with getting them all dealt with that I’ll stay up when I should be getting some sleep to deal with them all, even though I know they could easily wait, and I’d get them done just as easily by getting some sleep now and tackling them after the sleep (maybe even easier, since I’ll have a clearer head).

  2. Having multiple emails is definitely a hassle. Receiving a million emails a day at work adds to my email anxiety for sure. However, I know that a high number of unread messages would drive me crazy in one way or another, so I never let it get that bad. Yes, there are some days (like today) when I don’t feel like going through all of the personal emails, but once the number starts getting out of control (around 15), then I go in there and clean it up. Those are mainly spam/delete items anyway, as I try to read the vital ones regularly.

    It totally petrifies me when I see people with thousands of unread emails. “They’re all spam or delete,” they say. Well, then delete them! Seeing that number next to my inbox would drive me up the wall and probably cause me to either delete my email altogether or at least never open it again. I. Cannot. Let. This. Happen.

    I hope you are able to carve out some time on a daily/bi-weekly/weekly basis to sort through it, too. For me, getting rid of the non-items first is the way to go. Then, I can clearly see how many items need my attention (replies) and then I am able to easily figure out when/how to do it.

    1. i dont get as much spammy ones just lots and lots that require my attention. i always get as much delete as I can then have to face replying to the rest.

      i am definitely working on getting the numbers down. thanks for reading 🙂

  3. I hope you figure things out. I have an opposite habit – I hate the idea of unread message. If it’s a spam (or promotional), I deleted that outright. I often do a clean-up, unsubscribing from all kinds of messages to keep the amount of e-mails (especially those I don’t care for at all) down. Which leaves me with a very manageable amount – usually just a couple per week – on my personal e-mails. Then, the amount of people I regularly interact with is quite low, and it’s hard to guess how it went if that wasn’t the case.

    Anyway, good luck!

    1. my partner is like that he likes to keep an empty inbox. though he’s able to do that because all official emails like from utilities etc all come to me.

      i am woking on unsubscribing from as much as possible

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